Pets such as dogs, cats and fish were popular in many other countries (Marx et al., 1988; Gammonley, 1991; Brodie & Biley, 1999; PIAS, 2002). In Hong Kong, pet owners increased to 0.26 million (Census and Statistics Department, 2006). Dating back to 1980s, a research study reported the association between pet ownerships and health benefits for humans (McNicholas et al., 2005). According to the report, domesticated pets brought a sense of companionship and provided pet owners with pleasure. These pets could be tools for enhancing human social relationship and could also provide their owners with emotional comfort. Recent studies also revealed that the influence of the complex and rich relationship between pets and owners might far surpass daily pleasure in terms of improving physical, psychological and mental health of the elderly (Serpell, 1991; Garrity et al., 1989; Murrell et al., 1983). 1.2.
Not many studies in the literature were to investigate the positive impacts of pet raising on health of the elderly in Hong Kong. If pet raising had a positive impact on older people’s health, there would be important implications to the health services in Hong Kong, with regard to further studies on an in-depth understanding of this issue and policy recommendations for the Hong Kong government to improve the health services of the elderly population. In light of the above rationale, the present study was designed to explore the qualitative impacts of pet raising on well-being of the elderly people in Hong Kong. The specific aims of the study were:
- To explore the value of pet raising as perceived by the elderly people in Hong Kong;
- To explore the impacts of pet raising on the physical, psychological and overall life satisfaction of the elderly people in Hong Kong;
- To identify the critical factors influencing the physical, psychological and overall life satisfaction of the elderly people in Hong Kong; and
- To make suggestions to policy makers regarding effective health services for the elderly people in Hong Kong.
Chan, C. M. A., Cheung, K. W. K., & Lo, L. F. (2007). An exploratory study of pet raising and health of the elderly people in Hong Kong (APIAS Monograph Paper Series No.12). Retrieved from Lingnan University website: http://commons.ln.edu.hk/apiasmp/1